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Estimating hedge fund leverage


  • Patrick M McGuire
  • Kostas Tsatsaronis


Hedge funds are major players in the international financial system and nimble investment strategies including the use of leverage allow them to build up large positions. Yet the monitoring of systemic risks posed by the build-up of leverage is hampered by incomplete information on hedge funds' balance sheet positions. This paper describes how an extension of "regression-based style analysis" and publicly available data on fund returns yield an indicator of the average amount of funding leverage used by hedge funds. The approach can take into account non-linear exposures through the use of synthetic option returns as possible risk factors. The resulting estimates of leverage are generally plausible for several hedge fund families, in particular those whose returns are well captured by the risk factors used in the estimation. In the absence of more detailed information on hedge fund investments, these estimates can serve as a tool for macro-prudential surveillance of financial system stability.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick M McGuire & Kostas Tsatsaronis, 2008. "Estimating hedge fund leverage," BIS Working Papers 260, Bank for International Settlements.
  • Handle: RePEc:bis:biswps:260

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Kambhu & Til Schuermann & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2007. "Hedge funds, financial intermediation, and systemic risk," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-18.
    2. Tobias Adrian, 2007. "Measuring risk in the hedge fund sector," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 13(Mar).
    3. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & James M. Park, 1998. "Hedge Funds and the Asian Currency Crisis of 1997," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 98-014, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
    4. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2004. "Hedge Funds and the Technology Bubble," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(5), pages 2013-2040, October.
    5. René M. Stulz, 2007. "Hedge Funds: Past, Present, and Future," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 175-194, Spring.
    6. Patrick McGuire & Eli Remolona & Kostas Tsatsaronis, 2005. "Time-varying exposures and leverage in hedge funds," BIS Quarterly Review, Bank for International Settlements, March.
    7. Gupta, Anurag & Liang, Bing, 2005. "Do hedge funds have enough capital? A value-at-risk approach," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 219-253, July.
    8. Fung, William & Hsieh, David A., 2000. "Performance Characteristics of Hedge Funds and Commodity Funds: Natural vs. Spurious Biases," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(03), pages 291-307, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fernando Avalos & Ramon Moreno & Tania Romero, 2015. "Leverage on the buy side," BIS Working Papers 517, Bank for International Settlements.
    2. El Kalak, Izidin & Azevedo, Alcino & Hudson, Robert, 2016. "Reviewing the hedge funds literature I: Hedge funds and hedge funds' managerial characteristics," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 85-97.
    3. Ang, Andrew & Gorovyy, Sergiy & van Inwegen, Gregory B., 2011. "Hedge fund leverage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 102-126, October.
    4. Bussière, Matthieu & Hoerova, Marie & Klaus, Benjamin, 2015. "Commonality in hedge fund returns: Driving factors and implications," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 266-280.
    5. Laurent Grillet-Aubert & Jean-Baptiste Haquin & Clive Jackson & Neill Killeen & Christian Weistroffer, 2016. "Assessing shadow banking – non-bank financial intermediation in Europe," ESRB Occasional Paper Series 10, European Systemic Risk Board.
    6. King, Michael R. & Maier, Philipp, 2009. "Hedge funds and financial stability: Regulating prime brokers will mitigate systemic risks," Journal of Financial Stability, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 283-297, September.
    7. Jiaqi Chen & Michael Tindall, 2012. "Hedge fund dynamic market sensitivity," Occasional Papers 12-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    8. Racicot, François-Éric & Théoret, Raymond, 2016. "Macroeconomic shocks, forward-looking dynamics, and the behavior of hedge funds," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 41-61.

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    hedge funds; systemic risk; leverage; style analysis;

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